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Heading out to the races part II. 
The Campaign Trail.

It being the campaign season, we at your favorite non political publication thought it might be different and informative to assign a staffer to cover the presidential race and see if we couldn't maybe get some sort of reading on the political climate in this country. Things seem like they are getting pretty ugly out there with the nation divided as it hasn't been since the civil war, and we thought if we could usurp some credentials and sneak a man inside, we might be able to ascertain just what in the hell is going on and shed some light on how we arrived at this depressing point in our history. We chose a former staffer who we hadn't seen in awhile but needed work and seemed like the perfect man to go undercover and boil the matter down to some low gravy. What follows is his report.

WWHASSSUP? Hey, where in the fargin jack is Iowa, Missouri? I'm so goddamn lost. I hooked up with this group that was supposed to be delivering water jugs in a rally bus. We were supposedly heading first to a meeting of the corn farmers union held at some soy bean factory in Mexico, Missouri. Our plan, I thought, was to road trip it across the heartland (that's me in the bus on the top right, although don't read that the wrong way. I'm supposed to be neutral as far as the election goes) to this area where both candidates were supposed to be stumping. We were hoping to get to hear a kick off speech from Barbara Bush and a guy said that maybe even the president himself was going to be lowered down from a helicopter wearing a pair of overalls and holding a pitch fork and say a few words about his experiences as a farmer. Kerry was supposed to be nearby somewhere as well and leading this sing along at a local laundry mat and we were going to all get to chime in to Kumba Ya for an album he and Edwards are cutting to show that they are regular campers and not establishment stuffed shirts. Hey come on I didn't mean that Barbara Bush you dagwoods at least I hope that's not who was planning on talking! I wanted to see Barbara Jr! As you can see at left in the picture with her cousin she's the twin that went to Harvard or Middlebury or someplace and got a lot hotter in the past couple years? 

Anyway, I didn't make it to any heartland obviously since things got all fouled up somewhere and I'm filing this report from a location that clearly is not in Missouri. In fact I have serious doubts if there is any kind of corn field or soy bean (or any type of bush for that matter) for quite a ways. We drove through the wee hours partying like it was election night and now I seem to be in a rise and shine situation cooling my toes on some deserted dirty beach. I'm gonna have to ask somebody what particular body of water this is, that is, if anyone ever comes along. Hey, but the waves don't look too bad so I might just have to scrounge up a board somewhere if the swells pick up a bit more and make the best of a bad beat while I can. I'm pretty sure the folks that dropped me off intended on coming back by but then again I may be totally screwed and have to thumb it out of here. That is if I can locate the highway and figure out which side to stand on in order to get home. Hold on a minute. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a trash can just now when I was stumbling around looking for a place to take a Duke that had Imperial Beach painted on the lid which I think is almost down in Mexico. The real Mexico not the one in Missouri. What the hell? I have to assume that, if all these seagulls are any indication, we made a wrong turn somewhere along the campaign trail. Or at least I made the wrong move getting in the back of that Winnebago with those dancers. Who knows if the chick driving the thing ever even planned on going to Iowa. One things sure and that is no candidate worth a damn would spend any time around this place. I better get back on track or I'm gonna have a hard time convincing anyone I was working and then how am I going claim my per diem?

This whole crazy week all got started when I was called on business to Tempe, Arizona a few days ago for the third and final presidential debate and let me tell you this much right out of the shute! - I've never been prouder of this nation's young people.  They were out in droves along Mill Boulevard, which is this sort of trendy route they have out there with places like B.F. Whangs, Hooters, and Gordo's Beer Brewery providing the tasty eats and unlimited goddamn suds for a guy with an expense account. It was sort of a warm evening and hoards of scantily clad potential voters were hanging off the balconies chanting for their candidate of choice, taking off their tops, and hollering stuff like "More Gore years" and "Lick this Bush." The latter phrase struck this reporter as kind of funny since many were inadvertently exposing their nether selves to the people on the streets below (although as anyone who's been out in the game lately knows there's not as much actual bush around as there used to be). Anyway I managed to hang for awhile with this group of girls wearing Edward Kerry tee shirts while they waited to be soaked down for this contest and I'm saying to myself the whole time, goddamn, whoever this Edward K is, he's got it going on! I know, I know he more than likely has a brother John who happens to be running for president so that helps but still! I'll tell you another question that came to mind right out of the bag and that was -  "What in the christ do they teach at that ASU place that makes it the destination for drop dead gorgeous sheilas?"  I was walking around with a Woodrow Wilson the entire time I was there. One things fer shootin, whatever else they're teaching on campus, sex education had best be part of the curriculum because I've never seen more hot Bettys clustering around one general location in my life. They were putting themselves on display too. It seemed like all the dumb blondes and party bimbos had gathered for a convention or something like maybe every high school in So Cal had sent their prettiest and dizziest airhead over to Phoenix on a recruiting visit or just to celebrate the debate.  It could be that they have a major in being a playmate or a ring girl there at the school.  Anyhow it was hard to concentrate on the issues with everything else that was happening especially after I ended up back at this post debate party in a hotel suite overlooking the city where there was bush licking and kerrymandering going on like I'd never seen. This punker I was talking to while he was tossing up over the balcony said that president W's daughters were around somewhere and I do remember people shouting about a tag team wrestling match over in the corner but I couldn't get close enough to make out just exactly what was going down. The other Bush daughter that didn't go to Harvard, I think her name is Janice or Jessica, likes to drink a forty with the fellas now and again from what I heard and I think I remember meeting her for a second while she was bumming a smoke from a guy that was telling us about how a bunch of tough looking bastards in blue suits had just come in off the street and confiscated his new digital camera.

 In another suite I stumbled into at the same hotel, folks were more formally dressed but just as hammered and one of Kerry's daughters was there showing off a fancy evening gown which created a nice juxtaposition to the quarters games and public fornication going on down the hall. I got talking to this fella in a tuxedo that was handing out little cocktail foods who told me what he thought about the debates and how they affected the political pulse of the nation. "Basically you've got ignorant douche bags and complete shit buckets on one side and homosexuals and commie deadbeats on the other," he explained. "But if you're a candidate, you've got to appeal to both sides so you have to be lying at least half the time.  That's why the debates and speeches all sound so ridiculous and don't mean Jack to most people listening. American's don't think about this stuff anyway but rather make up their minds based on some preconceived notion about abortion or gun laws or taxes without actually listening to what is being said in the first place. I suppose if one took the candidates actual words during the debate, and then fact-checked them against previous speeches, votes, etc they could have more value but everything gets so convoluted that it's hard to get the real story. As a result, all the candidates try to do is make it simple so the average man has a catch phrase to hang on. I mean look at all the lies Cheney swore to during his debate. If more people followed up after the damn things were over to see how many bald-faced untruths each candidate looked right into the camera and swore to, there would be much more value but nobody does. There aren't any judges taking off points for making shit up. How many people know or care that Karl Rove is in Bush's ear telling him what to say? - not many." He paused to switch arms with his tray before continuing.  
"And what do debating skills have to do with running a country in the first place? Ever watch the ranting on the congressional floors that they show on C-span? The other congressmen don't listen to it that's for sure. They're making decisions based on polls and lobbyists and back room deals. The debates make good TV news but they can say anything and get away with it when it should be about what they actually will do once in the office even if that is all shady deals as well - you vote for my bill I'll vote for yours. You can knock most politicians for, at some point, voting against a bill with a great subject like "more money for schools" even though they voted against it because the meat of the bill included a mere $50 per school, but had a big ass addendum tacked on to pave some roads in Florida, spend a trillion on this and a trillion on that and roll back a bunch of environmental restrictions. And lets face it, no matter whether either candidate has a litmus test for judges, they then have to be approved by the Senate, where half want to reject because the candidate is pro this and the other half want to reject for anti that. Remember Suder's nomination hearings? Abortion abortion abortion abortion - both sides, all they cared about. Who really gives a bum wipe about their take on Federal government vs states rights, commerce, freedom of the press? If more people paid any attention at all to who they sent to congress on a local level that could have far more impact over the laws that govern their lives than who sits in the oval office. That's just me though. Hey, Kerry's daughter has a nice rack doesn't she? I'm going to see if she wants one of these little shrimps. Come on man you ate em all. Now I'm gonna have to go back to the kitchen."

So all in all Tempe was a good time but I feel a little bad because I never got into the actual debate which is what I was there to cover even though it was right down the street and this guy hooked me up with a pass. I was able to catch some of it in this bar called "The Library" though. Sort of a cool place actually with books and couches and bartendresses all dolled up in catholic school girl outfits that show most of their asses. There were some televisions showing the debate too although I didn't have that good a view of them most of the time and had to sort of hunker down during part of it in a side hallway to eat a basket of fries since I had been feeling a little light headed at the time. I couldn't hear all that well either because of the whooping and caterwauling over the red and blue Jello shots they were passing around but from what I did catch it seemed like the candidates were seriously addressing some of the issues or at least issuing some addresses meant to sound serious. I overheard one part where I thought Kerry was commenting on Bush's point that if they could do the right science with the cell stems of embryos then maybe they could change Chaney's gay daughter back to the way she was before. I think that was right after they asked Bush if he thought homosexuality was a choice and he said he didn't know. That made me wonder if he remembered personally deciding what to be and at what age he was when he picked. Being from Texas and all you would have thought he would have had to chose at a pretty young age.

I caught the part as well where Kerry was talking about tax cuts for our troops and how he voted for big spending over 600 times while he was a senator and mentioned that he was proud of his record on all matters foreign and domestic. Bush looked like he'd been eating some stewed prunes which prompted some guy next to me to inquire if Bush had that earpiece in this time around so the real people in charge of the government could tell him what to say. I hadn't heard anything about that but apparently, as this guy I was sucking tequila shots out of this waitresses belly button with explained it, in the first debate Bush was wearing a wireless audio box on his back like the TV anchors do so he could get quick tips on how to better respond to the questions even though he'd known what they were beforehand. I would have thought it would be hard enough for him to listen to the mediator as well as Senator Kerry and recite the memorized answers without also listening to a guy talking in his ear. They really must have been desperate over in Bush town to try and pull off a stunt like that. I know he's not thought of as very eloquent or even coherent at times and maybe he felt like he needed an intellectual boost from one of his handlers who is more adept at snappy repartee and in tune with what's going on in this country that Bush is the president of. Anyway whether he got the cues or not wasn't clear to me at least since, from what I saw from his facial expressions, he seemed to have a gassy stomach during the entire night and believe me I know how he feels as far as that goes.  I was watching that first debate at this sports bar I go to out in Diego and they only had it on one TV because of the baseball games and the sound wasn't on so it may have been the reception that made Bush look all constipated and grouchy. I do remember the night at the bar because the waitresses were all wearing pink shirts instead of their usual bikini tops. That was before I got this reporting gig though so, to be honest, I wasn't paying all that much attention since the Dodgers were still in it at that point. I had a bit of gas myself that night and didn't feel up to thinking about politics if you want to know the truth since I thought it might make it worse.

Wait! Now I remember why I was in that Winnebago in the first place. This photog for the National Lampoon or Daily Sundowner or one of those rags told me he had some compromising shots of the Bush twins and their mom on his camera and was gonna maybe sell them to me if I'd let him party with some of the girls I'd met. I figured if I could land something like that then I could quit working for awhile all together so I let him tag along figuring he could take more pictures of what it's really like down in the trenches of big time politics if he came along on our rally bus. We were all supposed to continue on the campaign trail which is why we headed to Vegas since that's where both parties were flying to after the Tempe stuff was done and then drive back east but obviously we must have gotten off line somewhere. The picture he had (left) ended up being nothing anyone would want to pay for and just showed the first family sitting with their legs crossed but I remember that the guy still ended up riding up front with a couple of the girls and was telling everyone in a cocksure way that he knew the way to the next stop in Mexico, MO. OH! It's all becoming clear now. That bastard may be the reason that we never made it to Missouri or Vegas since the next stop he knew about obviously ended up being in the wrong direction and the wrong Mexico. He was probably just using us to get a ride home. I have vague recollection now that I think about it for a sec of dropping him off at some house in El Cajon and him hopping out and giving us all the finger which didn't bother us any since we were glad to be rid of the windbag. Apparently, someone got the idea that we might as well head to the real Mexico from there as long as we'd come that far and we must have just headed straight down towards Tijuana. That explains a whole bunch of things actually now that I notice this tattoo of the Dirty Santa Maria I seem to have on my calf which I hope I can wash off in the ocean. Not that I have anything against her or anything it's just that having a topless girl in a grass skirt on my leg might not be the best thing all the time if I ever need to work in a place where I can wear shorts. Well it doesn't look like it's coming off so that sucks. Maybe I can get an indelible marker of some sort and color a top over her boobs at least when I need to dress up a bit.

Well, alright then. Looks like I've got bigger immediate fish to fry then this presidential race so I'm gonna sign off for now until I find a way back into the heart of the country or at least get to a place where I can use a phone, grab a brew, and discuss the elections with someone on the next stool. If I could only get back to my home bar in Diego I'd be all set and could interview one of the waitresses about her tee shirt. I figure if I'm doing stuff like that, then I'm working and they'll have to pay me. That's the great thing about this assignment. It's a national election which means that as long as I'm somewhere within the good old US of A and not at a goat show across the border or some cock fighting match like I evidently must have attended last night judging from all the peck marks on my forearms, then I'm reporting on the political climate and doing my job. Anyway, check you later on the campaign trail with my next report. A guy walking his dog is coming along so maybe he'll be able to give me the heads up on a way out of here.

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